Synthetic manganese-activated calcites are shown to be practically inert to ultraviolet excitation in the range 2000-3500A, while they are luminescent under cathode-ray excitation. The incorporation of small amounts of an auxiliary impurity along with the manganese produces the strong response to ultraviolet radiation hitherto ascribed to CaCO3:Mn itself. Three such impurities have been studied: lead, thallium, and cerium. The first two induce excitation in the neighborhood of the mercury resonance line, while the cerium introduces a response principally to longer wave ultraviolet. The strong response to 2537A excitation shown by some natural calcites is likewise found to be due to the presence of lead along with the manganese, rather than to the manganese alone. The data do not warrant ascribing the longer wave-length ultraviolet-excited luminescence of all natural calcites to the action of an auxiliary impurity. The essential identity of the cathode-ray excited luminescence spectra of CaCO 3:Mn, CaCO3: (Pb+Mn), CaCO3:(Tl+Mn), and CaCO3:(Ce+Mn) with the 2537A-excited spectra of the latter three is evidence that the luminescent center in all cases is the manganese ion or the MnO6 group. It is shown that a "cascade" mechanism for the action of the auxiliary impurities, lead, thallium, and cerium, is incorrect; and that the phenomenon must be considered as a case of sensitized luminescence. Owing to the nature of cathode-ray excitation, the manganese activator can be excited by this agent even in the absence of a second impurity. For optical excitation, however, an absorption band for the ultraviolet must be established by building into the CaCO3:Mn a second impurity or "sensitizer.".
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The sensitized luminescence of manganese-activated calcite